Here Begins My Service As An Assistant Provost Marshal Of The Department
The Secret Service, as its name implies, is the most confidential arm of
the service. Its information intelligently guides the commanding
general. It gives him to know of the conduct of the enemy and discloses
weaknesses, if any exist, in his own armour. There is always a "cloud of
mystery" thrown around it by outsiders. But its pursuit, on the inside,
is not that of romance, but simply of cold facts; it deals with business
propositions. In telling my stories, not being a story writer, I shall
tell plain facts, leaving the reader to clothe them with the glamour
that a fiction writer would usually apply. Were I to attempt to tell
something of all my many stories it would weary a reader; so I will try
to select some that are really historic, or interesting from their
Provost Marshal's Office,
Fort McHenry, Apl. 10, 1864.
Lieut. H. B. Smith,
Asst. Provost Marshal 8th Army Corps.
I have just been informed by Mrs. Myers that a detective of
General Winder's staff from Richmond, Virginia, is in the city
J. W. HOLMES,
Capt. and Provost Marshal.
General J. H. Winder commanded the Department of Henrico, headquarters
at Richmond, Va. Many of his detectives were Marylanders, among them
were John Lutz, Wash Goodrich, T. Woodhall, ---- Taylor, and William
I perfectly imitated General John H. Winder's signature to passes which
we used with success. I had a close imitation of his stationery; only an
expert could detect our passes. If he is living I am sure he will pardon
the liberty I took, for it was all in the game.
Following is one of General Winder's genuine passes:
Headquarters, Department of Henrico,
Richmond, Va., March 26th, 1864.
Mrs. James Gordon & (3) children, a citizen of Great Britain,
having sworn, in good faith, not to reveal, either directly
or indirectly, any information that may benefit the enemy, is
hereby permitted to pass beyond the limits of the Confederate
States, by the route herein designated: and none other.
Strictly forbid to pass through General Lee's lines. Go by the
This passport is given, subject in all cases to the approval,
delays and restrictions of military commanders through whose
lines the persons or person may pass.
By command of the Secretary of War,
JNO. H. WINDER,
Our sources of information were numerous, as our own officers were
always on duty, and officers in other departments worked in conjunction
with us, thus forming an extended net work.
Baltimore, April 14, 1864.
Sir.--I am very unfortunate in always coming when you are out.
How has Kremer progressed with the case, anything been done? I
go to Washington per order of the Secretary of War. I am
obliged to go to New York within two weeks. I wish the case
here might be disposed of before I go to New York. Would you
oblige me by writing P. O. Box 62, Washington?
Very respy, your obdt servt.,
E. H. SMITH,
Special Officer, War Dept.
The following is Kremer's report of progress:
United States Military Telegraph,
April 17, 1864.
H. B. Smith:
Two men answering description but under different names left
here for Leonardtown on the 16th. Shall I follow? If so,
answer and send White.
W. V. KREMER.
Headquarters, Middle Department,
8th Army Corps,
April 22, 1864.
Special Order No. 43.
Lieut. H. B. Smith, 5th N. Y. Arty., will proceed to
Washington with Mrs. Mary E. Sawyer, Rebel mail carrier, turn
her over to Supt. of Old Capitol Prison, taking receipt for
prisoner. Will then deliver to Hon. C. A. Dana, Asst. Secy. of
War, all the papers in her case, after which he will report
without delay at these headquarters.
Quartermasters will furnish transportation.
By command of Major General Lew Wallace.
Col. and Provost Marshal.
Persons were not disturbed in the enjoyment of their opinions so long as
they did not become actively disloyal, but it was my duty to learn who
were disloyal for the purpose of keeping them under surveillance. The
following report I put in to illustrate that character of work:
Headquarters, Middle Department,
8th Army Corps.
Office Provost Marshal,
Baltimore, Apl. 24, 1864.
H. B. Smith,
Lieut. and Chief:
I have the honor to report that I left Baltimore as per orders
and proceeded to Reisterstown and stopped at a tavern and was
accosted by a citizen who told me there were detectives in the
house, and that he knew I was from the other side, and sent me
to a woman named Mrs. Hofman, who keeps a hotel there. I went
to her house and represented myself as a Rebel captain.
I had been there a short time when Mrs. Hofman took me
upstairs in a bedroom that was in the back part of the house
and told me if the detectives came upstairs, to get out of the
back window and take a horse that she would have saddled ready
for me; she said she did not care for the horse as the
citizens would make it up to her.
The detectives did not come upstairs, but a man named C. L.
Alder came up to the room and told me to get ready and come
down stairs, that he had a buggy ready to see me safe and that
he would die before I should be taken and that he had helped
many of the Rebels out of just such scrapes by taking them to
the Rebel lines.
We went about a mile and a half from Reisterstown and stopped
at the house of Dr. J. Larsh, and held a conversation with him
and another man that I could not learn the name of; about the
best plan for me to adopt was to keep away from the
detectives; he, the Doctor, told me that he was very busy or
he would take me safe through himself, but told Alder to take
me to Charles T. Cockey's, and that he would see me all right.
We then went to C. T. Cockey's and Alder explained to him who
I was and Mr. Cockey then introduced me to John C. Brown, of
Busson Parish, La., and lately manager of the Rebel Secretary
of War's plantation. Mr. Cockey told me to remain there all
night and he would see me safe, as he was engaged in the
business ever since the war commenced, and had run off a great
many men to the Rebel army; in fact he said that men from all
parts of the country were sent to him to take across the
lines, and that he always went into the Rebel lines with them.
Among the rest that he had taken across was Capt. Simms and
Capt. Beard and Gus Williamson. He said when General McClellan
was following Lee into Maryland, a man came to him from
Washington and gave him the number of men that McClellan had,
and the direction he was going to take, and that he went to
Frederick, and gave the information to Lee; and would, he
said, do so again, if it would do any good to the Southern
Cockey receives papers regularly from Richmond. He also said
that Capt. Harry Gilmor stops at his house whenever he comes
over the lines, and that a great many men from the South come
to his house, and he always helps them. I remained at his
house all night, and listened to him and John C. Brown cursing
the government for everything they could think of, and telling
what they would do if the Rebel army would come into Maryland
again. C. T. Cockey was also engaged at the time of Lee's raid
into Pennsylvania; he took men to the Rebel army and was in
the Rebel lines several times, and gave them all the
information that he could get hold of that would do them any
Mr. J. C. Brown gave me the name of his brother, Benj. F.
Brown, of Frederick, Md., agent for the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad Co., and in charge of the government warehouse which
he surrendered to the Rebels without endeavoring to destroy
the goods, or to get them out of the way. J. C. Brown told me
to go to his brother and let him know who I was and everything
would be right, and that he would meet me there with a lot of
recruits, and a Rebel mail to take south.
The next day, 21st April, I expressed a wish to go into
Pennsylvania for a few days, and promised to meet Mr. Brown in
Frederick. Mr. C. T. Cockey took me in his buggy to T. D.
Cockey of "I" at Ellingown, near Texas, on the Northern
Central Railroad, where I met T. D. Cockey, of "I".
T. Deye Cockey and Philip Fendel, who are violent Rebels, say
they have been running men off ever since the war commenced.
And T. Deye Cockey says that he has been in the Rebel lines
several times, and at one time took three recruits from
Harford County to Hanover Junction, when the Rebels were
there, and gave them all the information he could.
Richard Worthington, a very wealthy man, whom I met, offered
me a horse, and any assistance in his power, to enable me to
escape, and stated that he had rented his farm out, and was
endeavoring to get his property fixed in such a way that the
damned negro government could not confiscate it. He was going
to leave the damned Yankees and go to Canada, and from there
to Nassau, and take a vessel and go to the Confederacy, where
he would be free to do as he pleased. He said he had invested
a portion of his money in Confederate bonds, and only wished
he had a chance to invest more in them, as the greenbacks, or
Yankee shinplasters were not worth a damn.
These men were under the impression that I was the Rebel Capt.
Harry Thompson, who, as it was published, had made his escape
from a Federal prison. I told them I had escaped from the Old
WM. V. KREMER,
U. S. D. 8th A. C.
You will notice Mr. Kremer speaks of T. D. Cockey of "I." That is a
common way in Maryland and Virginia to designate the lineage of that T.
D. Cockey, to obviate confounding him with some other T. D. Cockey.
Later on, in July, when the Confederate Army swung around north and east
of Baltimore, the information contained in Mr. Kremer's report became
very valuable to us.
Next: Mrs Key Howard A Lineal Descendant Of The Author Of The Star Spangled Banner
Previous: General Wallace Assumes Command Of The Middle Department